Sky News — June 17, 2016
The brother of the suspect held over the deadly attack on Labour MP Jo Cox has said Tommy Mair is “not a violent man”.
Neighbours have also expressed shock following the arrest of the 52-year-old near his home in Birstall, West Yorkshire, describing him as a “loner” who “kept himself to himself”.
Police have been searching his home not far from where the mother of two young children was stabbed and shot several times.
Scott Mair, 50, has told reporters his brother had a “history of mental illness, but he has had help”.
He told the Sun newspaper: “We are struggling to believe what has happened. My brother is not a violent man and is not that political.
We don’t even know who he votes for. I am visibly shaken at this news. I am so sorry for the MP and her family.”
The alleged gunman is reported to have shouted “Britain first” or “put Britain first” during the attack.
Mair’s half-brother, Duane St Louis, 41, told the Sun: “He’s never expressed any views about Britain, or politics or racist tendencies.
“I’m mixed race and I’m his half-brother, we got on well.”
The Britain First group said in a statement it “obviously is NOT involved and would never encourage behaviour of this sort”.
Back in 2010, a Thomas Mair, then aged 46, was quoted in his local paper talking about his mental health issues.
After being a patient of the Mirfield-based Pathways Day Centre for adults with mental illness, he had volunteered at Oakwell Hall country park in Birstall, according to a Huddersfield Examiner report at the time.
He told the paper: “I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world.
“Many people who suffer from mental illness are socially isolated and disconnected from society, feelings of worthlessness are also common, mainly caused by long-term unemployment.”
Pathways is described on the South West Yorkshire Partnership (SWYP) NHS Foundation Trust website as a “team that offers support to people experiencing mental health difficulties”.
Rob Webster, chief executive at SWYP NHS Trust, said: “Our thoughts are with Jo’s family, friends and colleagues during this tragic time.
“This is an ongoing police investigation and we are unable to comment further.”
Neighbours said Mair had lived at the property for more than 30 years, much of it on his own following the death of his grandmother.
David Pickles said: “He’s lived there longer than me and I’ve lived here since 1975. I still can’t believe it. He’s the last guy I would have thought of.
“He’s just quiet. He kept himself to himself. He lived by himself. He’s been on his own for about 20 years.
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “He was a bit of a loner. It’s a bit of a shock – he did everyone’s gardens.
“I can’t say a wrong word about him, he was so quiet. It’s come as a shock to everybody.